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THE AIM IS TO REVIVE THE CITY AND MAKE IT MORE INCLUSIVE TO ALL >> The problem is, however, that the car-dependent

residents of the valleys are further clogging the streets of Quito, since most of them commute to work in the city, and public transport is as good as non-existent. Meanwhile, the beautiful historical centre of Quito, one of the first two UNESCO heritage sites in the world, is depopulating. Due to the restrictions that come with the heritage status, the necessary restoration of the inner-city is too costly, especially considering the current economic crisis the city is situated in since the global decrease of oil prices - one of the biggest drivers of the Ecuadorian economy. The result is an almost vacant historical centre, with the most beautiful colonial mansions used as storage room for retail on the ground floor, which makes this part of town better to be avoided after office hours. Public life in the streets is almost absent at night, which goes hand-in-hand with the car dependency, polycentrism, and low temperatures at night - due to the high altitude. Joan Clos’ words may particularly be true for the way Quito is governed at the moment, where urbanisation is mostly seen as a challenge to be addressed and regulated, rather than an opportunity for development - much like Northern European cities in the 1970s. Luckily, progressive City Makers think differently and take up initiatives to bring live back to the neighbourhoods they hold so dear. They definitely see opportunity in a crumbling 1930s villa in La Mariscal and insist on making the city more bicycle friendly, walkable or green by starting a community garden.

New Urban Agenda

Their concerns are in line with those of the government, aiming to revive the city and make it more inclusive to all, the different approaches are just seemingly conflicting at the moment. In a city that needs quite some work to be done, issues seem to arise around the question whether a do-it-yourself mentality is desirable, or if this would further evoke the development of an informal or parallel society - much seen in cities in Latin America. Therefore, the response of the government is often to fall back on controlling mechanisms, rather than a collaborative stance. Although the New Urban Agenda is an ambitious step in the right direction, as a formulation of common goals for better cities worldwide, it is non-binding and so far fails to provide an action perspective on how exactly to execute multi-level governance, and in particular how to include civil society and City Makers into the policymaking process. And from what we’ve seen in Quito and cities throughout Europe, those happen to be the first to disappear off the table when things become difficult or matters too politically sensitive. However, we believe that a successful implementation of the New Urban Agenda depends to a large extend on its efforts to create a certain level playing field for public, private and civic stakeholders to be at one table. With Fabrica Ciudad, we hoped to have sparked the incentive to do so! ••

Charlot Schans

project leader New Europe

Herman Weeda

designer and visual storyteller


Profile for Pakhuis de Zwijger

New Amsterdam #10  

New Democracy | 10 years Pakhuis de Zwijger | Maakplaats 021 | FabCity Movement | Global Parliament of Mayors | Equal Access | Humans of Ams...

New Amsterdam #10  

New Democracy | 10 years Pakhuis de Zwijger | Maakplaats 021 | FabCity Movement | Global Parliament of Mayors | Equal Access | Humans of Ams...